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Top Tips for Freshers Week

Advice for freshers week and beyond – helping to ensure your start at uni is a success.

Before you arrive

  • Get yourself kitted out before arriving for freshers week, but don’t go too far. Remember, it’ll be easy enough to sort a few bits and pieces once you’re there. 
  • Get a student bank account sorted… you’re going to need it. Use comparison websites to work out the best deal for you. Be cautious of freebies and make sure you go for the best financial option. 
  • Check the welcome emails your university will have sent you and follow their various social media channels for the latest info, advice and guidance before and throughout your first year. Check your timetable online and find out what other info is available to you.
  • Check our Get Ready for Uni pages for a complete guide to the ins and outs of preparing for university.

Bed sheets Biros resize

Arriving 

  • Arrive as soon as possible once you’re permitted to occupy your halls of residence. You can start making friends earlier and scope out the surroundings before everyone arrives. 
  • Make sure you don’t lock yourself up in your room while your new flatmates get to know each other. Get out and introduce yourself, no matter how daunting.
  • Once you’ve made a friend or two, don’t stop there. Use the safety in numbers to go and make some more.
  • Get yourself unpacked early. You’ll be busy in the days and weeks that follow, so make your place as comfortable as possible from the get-go to help you settle in quicker. 
  • Use the support and help available to you. There will probably be dedicated student support teams made up of student mentors. International support teams help those new to the UK with airport arrivals, orientation and possible culture shock.

Party time Uni of exeter halls ©University of Exeter

Freshers Week and beyond

  • Get to know your surroundings. Start with your halls – where’s the laundry room, reception, friend’s flat, bar and so on. Then, move on to your wider surroundings. Think along the lines of: Where are you going to do a ‘proper’ food shop? What’s your route to lectures? How much is living in this city really going to cost you? 
  • There’s a lot laid on for you during freshers week and the weeks following, don’t waste it.
  • Go to the freshers fair(s). This is your chance to have a look at what societies are on offer. Societies provide students with the perfect opportunity to pursue their extracurricular interest, no matter how quirky.
  • Freshers fairs are also packed with freebies, in fact, you’ll probably get enough pens to last the year, as well as a few bits and pieces for your new flat.
  • Work out a budget and stick to it. Get your cash out at the beginning of each week, it’s far easier to keep track. Too many people come, spend way too much money during the early weeks and are relying on 10p noodle packs by the end of semester one.
  • Student loans won’t come in straightaway and there can be delays, so don’t turn up completely empty handed. Here’s a complete guide to managing your money.

Freshers fair ©Gavin Reynolds Southampton Battle of the bands ©Ben Grantham

Living

  • No matter how much of an introvert you are, try to maintain a friendly relationship with your flatmates. It’ll make living issues much easier.
  • Contribute – whether you’re friends or not, living with a group of people is a team game. Help out with the washing up, general cleaning and other household chores. 
  • Keep your personal space clean and tidy especially if you’ve got your own bathroom facilities. Little and often avoids bigger issues later down the line.
  • Maintain personal hygiene. Aside from the obvious health implications, smelling like you’ve not had a shower for a few days is not a great icebreaker.
  • Food – you’re not living at home any more so you’ll be responsible for your diet. No need to obsess over keeping it balanced, but make sure you’re eating a bit of fruit and veg as well as the usual carbs and protein, and not just relying on takeways. Your bank account will thank you, too. 
  • Discuss the flat’s food policy early doors. What are you sharing? How are you going to make it fair? Some flats go for the ‘all in’ approach which is great for developing relationships, but can prove complicated. Others go for a few shared items e.g. milk, bread. And others will go for an unadulterated ‘buy your own’ policy. Whatever you decide, make sure everyone is happy.
  • Go for big food shops. A good old bulk shop will cost you a great deal less than daily trips to the local express store and mean you’ve always got something to eat at home.
  • If you’re not sharing or cooking together, cook in bulk and keep things refrigerated or get them in the freezer. This is a far more cost-effective way of looking after yourself.

 Fridge note ©get directly down 

Staying safe

  • How safe is your university city/town? The Complete University Guide publishes annual data on the rate of student-relevant crime.
  • Stay responsible on nights out, especially when there’s alcohol involved. Eat well beforehand, familiarise yourself with the area, and keep an eye on your belongings – particularly your drink.
  • If going home late at night, try to do so in trusted company.
  • There’s a fair deal of ‘experimentation’ going on at university, but do you know what you’re getting involved in? If in doubt, steer well clear.  
  • Please see our dedicated pages for a comprehensive guide to staying safe and secure at university